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Anderson Cooper 360

News/Business. (2010) (CC)

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New York 32, Us 29, Grayson 26, Florida 25, San Francisco 16, Alan Grayson 11, Jeffrey Toobin 8, Paul Begala 8, Plavix 8, America 8, Orlando 8, Cnn 7, David Frum 7, San Bruno 6, California 6, Paul 6, Musri 5, Dan Webster 4, Obama Administration 4, Sarah Palin 4,
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  CNN    Anderson Cooper 360    News/Business.  (2010)  (CC)  

    September 9, 2010
    10:00 - 12:00am EDT  

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we want to share some happy news from the "larry king live" team. eleanor mcmannis, talented senior producers gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, isabella hardy mcmannis in at a healthy 8 pounds, 14 ounces. there she is. mother and daughter are doing well, daddy michael and big brother, cameron, are beaming with pride. congratulations and welcome to the world, isabella. stephen hawking is here tomorrow night. donald trump monday. bill maher on tuesday. anderson cooper right now and "ac 360." anderson? >> larry, thanks very much. thanks for joining us. breaking news, the little-known pastor whose plan to burn korans sparked an american fire around the world. he canceled his plans but tonight it's possible he hasn't. the latest in the bizarre back and forth of the last few hours and how this little pastor has somehow inserted himself in the controversy over the mosque and islamic center near ground zero. the democratic congressman who says the health plan is for people to, quote, die soon.
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most controversial member of his party is up for re-election. we'll take you in "360 politics under pressure." facing the makings of republican tidal wave. are democrats running away from and in some cases running against the obama policies, some that they voted for? we begin with the breaking news, the koran burning planned for 9/11 that was canceled today after a series of twists and turns, involving everyone from defense secretary gates to donald trump could be back on again. that's the breaking news tonight. only the obscure florida preacher knows for sure. only thing we learned for sure is that he is trying to expand and stretch his 15 minutes of fame, linking himself to the other hot button of the day, the p proposed islamic center two blocks from ground zero. he said the koran burning, which he called off hours before, could be back on again, claiming a florida imam had lied to him
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that the proposed new york mosque was moving. he said, quote, we are rethinking our position. we're little back to square one and we hope this thing works out. this is a guy with a flocking a few dozen people, sparked international demonstrations, draw a presidential warning, a warning from the head of the military in afghanistan, a call from the defense secretary of the united states today, a visit today from the fbi and more. it is all, frankly, surreal. earlier today, he announced the koran burning was off and this was the reason he gave. >> we have or he has been in contact with the imam in new york city. i, with the imam here, i will be fly i flying up there on saturday to meet with the imam at the ground zero mosque. he has agreed to move the
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location. >> agreed to move the location, he claims, of a mosque he barely ever mentioned in the run-up to his proposed koran burning. why would the new york imam suddenly be negotiating with this extremist pastor? here is where the story falls apart. a florida imam, who is president of the islamic society of central florida. here is what he said. >> i have made this morning contact with the office of imam feisal abdul rauf and got a commitment to fly up to new york and meet with him in the company of pastor jones to discuss and come to a decision on relocating the mosque in new york. >> there, he seems to be saying there's no actual deal, just discussion. a short time later the people behind the islamic center near
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ground zero said just that, there was no deal. then imam feisal rauf issued this statement. i have not spoken to pastor jones or imam musari. we are not going to toy with our religion or any other. nor are we going to bartter. we are here to extend our hands to build peace and harmony. by 6:30, pastor jones was back in front of the cameras. >> i was told exactly that the imam would move the mosque from ground zero. i was told he cannot move it tomorrow. i said that is fine. but it cannot be in ten years. these are exact words that i said. the man said that is fine. i said, now he has agreed to move the mosque away from the ground zero area? yes, he has. that is what i was told. >> who exactly told you that? the name of the person who told you that? >> the imam who was here with me in the press conference. >> imam musari.
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>> i guess. i don't know his name. >> he doesn't know the name of the florida imam that he spent the last two days with. and the florida imam has a different story. >> when he was pressed on it, he said i didn't speak to the imam in new york, i spoke to imam musri and he gave me his word that -- >> that it was a deal? >> that i will work on it, not that -- he knows and i know and the whole world knows that it's not in my hands. that project is not my project. i have no control over it. so -- >> you believe that he knows that there's no deal even though he's saying it? >> yes, i do. >> so, we'll be talking to our political panel about this, paul begalla, david gergen and jeffrey toobin and why suddenly pastor jones believes he has a role to play here in new york. imam musri joins us from
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gainesville. thank you so much for joining us. this pastor says you gave him assurances that imam rauf had agreed to move his center. you're basically saying he's lying, right? >> he absolutely is wrong. i -- and he knows that three times we went over that i had only a commitment from the office of the imam in new york to schedule a meeting, to go up there and discuss. the conditions that he cancel the event here. but he stretched his word up when he stood in front of the camera and said that i gave him guarantee. i have no power to guarantee for him anything in new york. >> so, you were standing next to him, though, when he was, in your words, stretching the truth. why didn't you then say, wait a minute. wait a minute. that's not at all what i said? >> i felt that he was trying to emphasize that point to save
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face and to give himself a reason to call this off. but in the question and answer session that followed, i made it clear that what he said is not accurate and -- >> okay. this pastor hates islam. he doesn't believe muslims should be allowed into the united states. he has preached that he doesn't want any new mosques to be built in america anywhere. he admitted in an interview with me that he is basically the definition of a bigot. why should the imam in new york negotiate with this guy that, it's important to remember, represents a few dozen people and sells used furniture on ebay to make a living? why should be there a meeting? >> i don't think there should be a meeting. he requested a meeting and i'm willing to schedule it with the imam in new york. >> does it worry you that -- sorry. go ahead. >> i feel that he is not --
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>> go ahead. >> go ahead. >> okay. does it worry you that he insisted on having a meeting only on saturday, on 9/11? you told john zarrella he was only available on saturday. this is the guy, this pastor has no full-time job, has plenty of time to appear on television. doesn't it seem to you that he's basically desperate for publicity and wanted to have as big a story as he could by meeting on 9/11? are you concerned about that? >> i am very concerned about that. the point was that we will schedule the meeting as soon as that is possible after we place the call to the office of the imam in new york. and there are no guarantees that the meeting will take place on saturday. i told him i'm willing to travel on saturday. he is willing. but it all fedepends on the availability of the imam in new york. >> pastor jones said he might have to rethink, reconsider his announcement about not burning
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korans. do you think at this point -- you spent a couple of days with him privately. do you think he will go ahead and burn korans? >> i don't think so. i think he got the message from secretary gates, from david petraeus, from many christian leaders who have called on him to call it quits to that event. i think he is trying right now to put pressure on me and twist my arm and the arm of the imam in new york to try to achieve something beyond what we have agreed on. >> right. he's basically trying to save face is what you're saying. what does it say about him, about this pastor that if what you're saying is accurate, that he would stretch the truth or lie about something like this, try to insert himself into something that he hasn't been involved with at all and, after spending two days with you, not even know your name.
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>> exactly, that's the point. after spending two days trying to talk to him, he does not know my name and he does not even know the imam in new york, but he found a new opportunity to stay in the spotlight and, unfortunately, he is trying to blackmail me and the imam in new york to do that and stay in the spotlight in the meantime. >> you say he's trying to blackmail you. in what way? >> first, he is accusing me that i lied to him, which i didn't. i was very explicit and clear in what i said to him, that we will schedule a meeting. we have an agreement from the office of the imam rauf to have that meeting and i told him if i invited him along, would they accept that? they said sure. now, we have not scheduled the meeting, nor did i promise him that the mosque at or near ground zero would be relocated. that's not in my power to give
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him. >> imam musri, i appreciate you being with us. it has to be one of the more surreal days of your life. it's certainly one of the more is your vooel real stories we've covered. >> it has been. >> i appreciate you coming on and explain iing things from yo perspective. thank you very much. >> thank you so much, anderson. >> join the live chat at ac360.com. we'll continue the conversation with our panel, david gergen, paul begalla and jeffrey toobin. later more breaking news. potentially big decision from president obama after a federal judge ruled don't ask, don't tell policy is found unconstitutional. four score and 100 -- listen to this guy. >> i have been a republican since i was born and i have been a republican since at northern trust, we understand...
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if you're just joining us, breaking news that pastor ter i did not jones has called off the plans for burning korans is back to square one. a deal had been reached, he told us earlier, in a nutshell, they would move the center for the site and he would cancel the koran burning. where did pastor jones get the idea to equate koran burning with mosque building in new york? political contributor paul begalla, judy josser and senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin. we debated, jeff, for a long time today whether or not even to cover this story. of course, it took all these bizarre turns and then it
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became, well, we do cover this story. this is one of those agonizing things where this guy is clearly an extremist. he represents a few dozen people. he makes money by selling furniture on ebay to people don't know it's supporting his little church. is this just the media making him into something? >> you had to cover the story today. the president is talking about it. secretary gates, general petraeus. it's already a story. the mistake we made, including cnn, i think, is to give him publicity in the first place. >> although cnn -- i mean, i know certainly we didn't really talk about him until general petraeus came out and said this is a risk to u.s. forces, which happened earlier this week. >> that certainly -- >> that's when the coverage -- >> makes the story. >> that's when the coverage blew up. >> to give him attention, we would never consider covering some crazy person in the street out on 58th street. >> like the westboro baptist church people i wouldn't put on television. >> correct. this guy is no different. he is a bigot, a lunatic and should not have gotten national attention. that, unfortunately, is what led
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to this crazy spiral that we're still on. >> what do you make of all of this? >> well, i think we've all been sucked in, involuntarily, into a freak show. this fellow is not just a lunatic. he's a jerk. he has been playing around with american lives. he is a publicity hound. he does live off the oxygen of media coverage. but as i learn more about it, i can see the dilemma the media organizations like cnn, it is true, general petraeus is acting in the best interest of the country, trying to protect lives, and spoke out about this, it naturally prompted the media to start looking at it. i do think we have now given him too much attention. if he decides to burn korans, yes, you have to have a camera there. but i think we ought to downplay this. >> i don't think anybody should show -- i mean, i certainly would not air images of this guy burning korans. i don't think anybody should. >> well, you know -- if al
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jazeera does that and we get a lot of protests around the world, i guarantee you we'll get sucked in again. i think the faster we can turn this guy's microphones off and turn off the lights, the better. he is living off the publicity and i can't tell you how much -- this is so -- this is damaging to the country now. i don't think -- i think it was unwise for the president to get as deeply involved as he has. i think it did give more len legitimacy to this guy. it's time to shut off the microphones. >> you were opposed to bill iin that mosque and islamic center near ground zero, although obviously they have the right under the constitution. what do you make, though, of this pastor trying to insert himself into that? it seems like the most craven attempt to extend his 15 minutes of, you know, surreal fame. >> yeah, exactly. this guy and his congregation
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are a spec of hate and fear mongering and they basically are exploiting the situation. the lesson to learn here is that we, as a nation, will never negotiate with terrorists or those that use extreme means of hate to try to manipulate the discourse. and i think, similarly, we've seen -- and i think it's not just the media's fault. this guy put this issue on facebook. it then got translated to different websites and the islamic media. from a teaching standpoint, we're in an information war. we need to start to take the offense and say we're going to advocate for ideas of freedom and liberty and stand behind the constitution even though we may pay a price for it. just when they had videos of our soldiers, god forbid, being beheaded. all of that is an information war we have yet to begin as americans. >> yet, paul, controlling information -- information has become democratized. this guy will videotape -- this
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pastor will probably videotape it, put it on the web and it will be out there. >> that's the thing. i'm trying to move back, who commented when, whether we should have covered it. the reason general petraeus commented on it, which is why cnn covered it, is because he had to. it's because as dr. jasser says, it was getting out in the bloodstream in other ways. when gergen and i were working in the white house, if cnn didn't cover it, it doesn't happen. now it does. he gives crazy religious fanatics a bad name but knows how to manipulate the media. i suspect paris hilton even thinks he's a media -- i don't think it's a very easy call, actually. the real responsibility is with this preacher. he is the man who is inciting hate and should be held
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accountable for it. >> everyone stick around. we'll continue this discussion and take a quick break. we've got a lot more to cover. stick around. we'll be right back. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 what if every atm was free? tdd# 1-800-345-2550 no more $2, $3 fees. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 no more paying to access your own money. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 it'd be like every atm in the world was your atm. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 the schwab bank high yield investor checking(tm) account. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 zero atm fees. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 a great interest rate. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 no minimums. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 the biggest thing in checking since checks. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 open an account at 1-800-4schwab or schwab.com.
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just want to show you some breaking news that's happening in san bruno, south of san francisco. huge fire. apparently a gas line has been broken. a number of homes are at risk, if not already -- what was that? a dozen homes, i'm just ge getting new information right now. we're trying to get detail, talk to someone on the scene. we'll continue to follow this and we'll break in throughout this next hour as we're getting these pictures. extraordinary images out of california tonight. we'll continue right now, though, talking about the breaking news, a florida preacher calling off plans, then possibly calling them back on to burn korans to mark nine years of the 9/11 attacks. somehow possibly only in pastor terry jones' mind, thaul moved into some kind of compromise with the imam who wants to build an islamic center and mosque two blocks from the ground zero
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site. when the pastor wanted to do this, it got coverage based on -- in stories about islamaphobia around the united states. murfreesboro, tennessee, an arson against a proposal to expand an islamic center. it was sort of seen in that light before people really started to focus on this one guy. where does this end? if he now goes back on his word, do you think he's just trying to save face as the imam earlier in the program said? >> i don't thiching nk he knows the hell he's doing anderson. he just wants to be on the air. he is not a rational human being. he is driven by forces we don't understand. and i think it was perfectly legitimate to cover him in terms of the islamaphobia. he is representative of a fever that we see in the country that needs to be contained, understood, contained and we have to talk our way through it.
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i would hope as we get copycats, they get less attention. i do think he got to a place where he was getting a lot of interviews and people were sort of putting him on. we went live today with it. i know that was a hard decision. it was a very hard decision for cnn to decide what to do when he went live today to claim this, make this prepoverty -- preposterous claim. i'm sure people are wondering, did we overplay this? this is hard questions. some guy is standing on a street corner holding a stick of dynamite with a fuse lit. you sort of feel you have to go look at that. he is manipulating us. >> let's move on from him. zuhdi jasser shall the imam from the proposed islam center in new york has said this has become a national security issue whether or not this islamic center proceeds, whether it proceeds
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forward, whether or not it's in that space or not. do you buy that, that this is now a national security issue? >> well, i mean, i think it's over simplistic and irresponsible for the imam to focus on that element. it may be true on the battlefield for petraeus. for us, as muslims, if you truly are a reformer, you will not negotiate with terrorists. if we're truly going to stand for freedom and liberty, the reason my family left syria and the reason i served in the navy we learned as americans we don't let terrorists tell us what to do. we won't be threatened into sub admission and we'll stand by our principles no matter what. if he believes his mosque is real -- that was one of my problems with a lot of his statements yesterday. i constantly get the sense that the only lens he sees things through is a narcissistic spiritual lens of islam and not through one as americans, that we have our faith within us, we're under god but ground zero is not about islam or teaching americans lessons. we've built over 2,000 mosques
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in this country without a problem. yes, there was some controversy in some of the ones we built, but america is not islamaphobic. >> i think there's a mistake that we've been making in talking about the mosque, in focusing on how people will react in al qaeda, in taliban, who will use it for propaganda. we do not know and we should not care. >> they will use just about anything that happens for propaganda. >> exactly. they will use anything in any direction. >> his point is that it's not just the extremists but it will make those who are not extremists at this point overseas or those on the fence in afghanistan, it will push them toward extremism. >> maybe. how can we predict how reactions will play overseas in these lands and among people we barely understand and know about? we have to be consistent with our values.
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we have to respect our law. and, frankly, let the chips fall where they may. this idea of predicting responses is a fool's game. >> paul? >> it's like imam rauf was on very strong, all-american grounds if he would have stayed in his lane, which is as a spiritual leader, community leader and if he simply had stayed there. he is not an expert on national security. he doesn't know what the hell he is talking about on that. he certainly has a powerful argument in the greatest american tradition of religious freedom, religious liberty, religious tolerance. communities have come here from all around the world and built their houses of worship. there was a time in american history when catholic churches were being burned, a convent was
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also ahead, president obama, is' political liability for democrats in the mid-term election? we'll look at raw politics and talk to david frum and paul begalla about that. speaking of raw politics, look at this. >> one of the strangest speeches you've ever heard, just ahead. ] your first day. you try to lie low, get the lay of the land. but then autoblog.com calls your interior lexus quiet. and automobile magazine goes comparing you to a cadillac. ♪ so much for the new kid fitting in with the rest of the class. the all new chevrolet cruze. starting under $17,000.
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for hold from dawn to dark... fixodent and forget it. you're looking at live pictures in san bruno, south of san francisco. we have someone on the phone with the very latest information, kelly houston. what do we know about this fire? how big is it? when did it start? >> just before 7:00 it started. we don't know exactly what sparked the fire. there was first reports of maybe an aircraft down but the faa and san francisco international airport says they don't have any
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reports of missing aircraft or any downed aircraft. as you can see, the fames are being fueled by something. there was a loud explosion being reported by witnesses and just dozens of homes on fire. several cars on fire in the area. there's speculation it may be a high pressure gas line. crews are trying to assess how many injuries they have there and what they're going to do to contain the flame. >> it looks like there is a source of those flames, as you mention, in one area. we're also seeing simmering flames elsewhere. it almost looks like a forest fire. are those smaller fires -- have the flames been picked up by the wind from that main area? >> yeah. one of their biggest challenges right now is the flame -- or is the wind that's fueling the fire and also spreading the fire as well. the firefighters are worried about the potential spread of this by the source, which could be this gas line or whatever it is that's fueling that fire. in addition, the amount of
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embers falling on to adjacent homes, catching those homes on fire. it's still very much an unfolding incident as we speak. we've got aircraft and helicopters from cal fire in the area, literally dropping retardant on homes to stop them from catching fire and an assessment, how many people may be injured, where those people are and doing an accounting of those folks. >> i assume you have folks on the ground. are they battling the blaze on the ground as well? we saw a helicopter pass through. these flames are huge. do you have people on the ground able to fight it? >> the local fire departments are there, trying to figure out what is the best strategy to fight this. of course, we do have folks in the aircraft, dropping retardant and water. there's a full-on effort there, hundreds of fires and people there just trying to get control of this. like i said, it's still an unfolding incident. we just don't know exactly what sparked this. but we're trying to stop it. >> how residential an area is this? it's hard to tell --
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>> it's a pretty residential area. it's along highway 280, if you're familiar with where that's at, along skyline boulevard, south of san francisco, about two miles east of san francisco -- i'm sorry, two miles west of san francisco international airport. so, it's, as you can see by the picture, a pretty populated area and lots of homes in that area. >> any reports right now of injuries or anything? >> we've heard some reports from folks that there are injuries there, there are people being treated but there's no way at this point to be able to give you a count. it's still unfolding. >> right. best of luck to you and to all those fighting the fire. we wish you the best. thank you for being with us keshlgs keshlgs, kelly. >> thank you. isha sesay join us with other headlines. it's believed three people have been shot. police with conducting an investigation at the scene. iran said it will release one of three american hikers it's holding. sarah may be freed on saturday
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at the end of the holy month of ramadan. they were arrested more than a year ago after allegedly straying into iran territory while hiking in iraq. iran has accused them of being spies. 83 miners trapped in chile. in it, they explain how supplies are distributed on a, quote, as-needed basis. the miners have been trapped for more than a month now, anderson, and they may be there until december. it's a terrible situation. but we continue to follow that one. >> yeah, unbelievable. they're now able to get them a lot of supplies and stuff through various tubes, which is hard to believe. >> i know, but, you know -- it's hard to believe, they just want alcohol and cigarettes. >> is that what they said? >> apparently they said no, we want alcohol and cigarettes. we need to get this thing going. anyway they said, no, they're getting meatballs and pasta. >> oh, well. they can dream. >> they can. >> i'll talk to you later. politics under pressure. florida congressman alan
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grayson's rough and tumble fight to keep his seat. he is not the only democrat in the fight of his political life, of course. breaking news tonight, a court ruling that could put president obama on the spot, a judge ruling don't ask, don't tell unconstitutional. the question is, what will the white house do next? hi. well, this is where it all starts at regions. where we build each of o customers a better banking experience. here, we're working on something really speci in our family department. hey, mike. hey, sam. (rings bell) bell works. love that bell! regions recognizes the unique needs of families. and we want to make su y have exactly what u ed -
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as the mid-term elections draw closer, we're periodically giving you inside access to the inner workings of key campaigns. tonight alan grayson, first-term democrat in florida. although he is only a freshman, he has repeatedly and harshly criticized republicans. listen. >> if you get sick, america, the republican health care plan is
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this. die quickly. i'm the only member of congress who actually worked as an economist and the lobbyist is trying to teach me about economics. >> an acronym, stfu. i don't think i can stay that on the air but you can figure out had an that means. i understand what the president is doing. people attack him and he turns the other cheek like any good muslim would do. >> upclose look at congressman grayson's campaign, here is randi kaye. this is the war room at alan grayson's headquarters, grayson is a democrat, brash and combative former lawyer for whistle blowers and now a congressman running for his second term in orlando, florida. his staff just got word a new attack ad against him was coming. >> cut $500 billion from medicare. >> they're spewing false claims about cutting medicare.
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>> reporter: his campaign manager quickly shifts into damage control. what are you hearing about this particular ad that could be coming? >> this particular ad is trying to distort the congressman's record on senior issues when, in fact, he has been one of the biggest proponents and biggest deliverers for seniors in the district. >> reporter: the group behind the attack describes itself as the conservative alternative to the aarp. >> nasty name calling sfwlr a lot of retirees live in orlando and they tend to vote. but grayson tells me they won't be fooled by, quote, special interest groups trying to buy an election for his republican opponent. >> how do you tackle that? >> 400 knocks on the door, 600,000 live phone calls and we've seen over and over again that that matters a lot more than whatever people are seeing on tv because frankly they're on to it. >> maybe. if the campaign is -- massing to defeat grayson and for dan
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webster, they are reinforcements in the knick of time. dan webster has little cash left but those conservative groups have millions to spend and would love to bring grayson down. after all, he said the republicans plan for health care was, quote, if you get sick, die quickly. he has also said that putting republicans in government was like making al qaeda members pilots. as for dick cheney, grayson called him a vampire. in other words, in politics, grayson is a take no prisoners warrior. >> i think it's -- >> but at an amusement park on a night out with his wife and five children, grayson is a different man. >> the thrill of a 5-year-old going on his first roller coaster ride, you know, it's inscribable. this is actually the happiest place on earth. you know, fun is never more than five minutes away. >> reporter: grayson believes he is the only member of congress to have five children in school.
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>> my daughter, skye, is 15. my daughter, star, is 11. my son, sage, is 9 and my twins, my beautiful, adorable twins, stone and storm, are 5. >> reporter: on another note, some have compared you to sarah palin because of the unusual children's names. how do you feel about being compared to sarah palin? >> i hope she runs for president. i hope she chooses me as her vice president and i hope that she quits her third day in office so that i'll have my shot. she does that, you know. she quits. >> reporter: grayson never quits. he learned that, growing up far from orlando in the bronx, new york, when he was 11, he says, a bully pushed him under a moving bus. but he managed to pull himself to safety. that was the beginning. that's when he began fighting. the son of two school teachers, grayson attended the prestigious bronx high school of science, then harvard and harvard law. he worked as a janitor to help
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pay tuition. as a lawyer, he exposed waste among contractors in iraq and then eventually figured out he may have a greater impact in congress than in the courtroom. so back at campaign headquarters, a new attack ad targeting him means another fight. they are planning how to defeat the conservative group behind it. >> ad limitations, we have to figure out what they are. if they're coming anywhere near the line, then we're going to stop them. >> reporter: grayson is ahead in the polls. he has raised plenty of money for this, but he has learned to expect attacks could come from anywhere. and he says he's not wired to lose. randi kaye, cnn, orlando. >> president obama will stomp for democratic candidates in key swing states this fall. one of those important states, ohio, where president obama talked about the economy yesterday. wisconsin, nevada. a lot of democratic candidates are keeping their distance from
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him. he won't visit states, white house acknowledges, where his presence could hurt democrats. paul begalla, conservative david frum, editor of frumforum.com. david, is the president a liability? >> sure, the president is a visible symbol of the status quo in the country. dreadful. people are really hurting. and the president's own constituents are the people who are hurting the most. young people, minorities. horrifying unemployment numbers and they can rightly say this didn't deliver for me. so why should i deliver for you? >> paul, what happened to -- remember there was all that talk at the inauguration about the obama army, all those people they have on their database who will be this ready reserve, people who will be energized for mid terms and specific issues? what happened? >> a lot of them are depressed. my personal theory is on 2008, election day, starbucs gave free
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coffee if you vote. starbucks demographics, pretty good for the democrats. caffeine is a stimulant. since then, a lot of states have decriminalized marijuana. pot bad, coffee good. they're sitting at home, smoking it up. a 50% drop in the three statewide elections we've had post-obama in massachusetts, virginia and new jersey. 50% decline in young people's vote. while many of them are disenchanted perhaps with president obama, i have to tell you, a lot of us older democrats are getting a little frustrated with the youngsters. this is a marathon race. yeah, they got their hopy changy guy in 2008. if they want to actually enact all that change, they have to stay in the game. >> david, from a republican perspective, do you think the gop would like to see more alan grayson? >> alan grayson is a big part of the problem, generally, with the country. he is really a talk radio figure more than a political figure. he is not somebody who is in congress to make legislation. obviously he can't work with anybody on the other side of the
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aisle, the way he talks. his strategy, it will work for him, is to become famous by being polarizing, to stand out, to become a symbol of the left for the left against the right. you can raise a lot of money that way. you can't accomplish anything. and that is part of the same disease that's consuming us all. >> paul, do you think grayson is part of the problem or do you want to see more, folks with his kind of energy in the democratic party? >> you always have a mix in the congress. go back to the continental congress. there were bomb throwers in that one, too. it's all part of the great magic of democracy. people of central florida are smart. if they think he's delivering for them, if they like the voice he gives them, i think that will be fine. oo i'm a little less alarmed. someone said that to president clinton, how long will these politicians continue to make extreme positions? he said as long as you keep rewarding it. we keep re-electing these folks.
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i'm not alarmed by that. there's plenty of room for all kinds of voices. at least this guy is funny, entertaining and believes in something. >> david frum, paul begala, we've got to leave it there. sorry about all the breaking news tonight. federal district court judge in southern california ruling that the military's don't ask, don't tell policy is unconstitutional under the first and fifth amendments. jeffrey toobin, it would be a good time to have him around. coincidentallily, we do. is this judge the right judge to be making this ruling? >> she. >> she, sorry. >> virginia phillips. since president clinton put it in, there have been -- >> this is like republican. >> log cabin republicans. this is the first one to have succeeded. certainly the justice department, part of the obama administration, will appeal saying it is consequence it contusional. and that's part of the paradox of this ruling. defense department under secretary gates saying they want
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to get rid of it at the same time the justice department is defending the law south florida basically they'll appeal but nothing happens until the appeal goes through? >> well, we'll see. she has to decide whether she will issue a stay. that is not clear at this point. >> if she doesn't you shall a stay -- >> ninth circuit court of appeals will be asked to shall a stay. frankly, given the defrence that the courts almost always give to the military, i would be very surprised not to see a stay entered into this court. this certainly will raise the pressure for congress to deal with don't ask, don't tell. the obama administration has said it wants to get rid of it. the pentagon is studying it. but basically moving in that direction. it hasn't happened yet. republicans in the senate have blocked it. i don't know exactly how this is going to affect the politics, but it's bth move through the appeals process and the supreme court may get this case as well. >> lot of breaking news tonight, jeff. appreciate it.
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you might want to stick around for this. our newest -- probably my favorite stump speech i've ever seen in one of our new segments. dispatches from planet politics. >> very long graphic. dispatches from planet politics. i want to introduce you to phil davidson. he wanted to be the republican nominee for treasurer for stark county, ohio. i mean, he really, really wants to be treasurer. keep in mind as you watch this, he is speaking at a community center in front of a friendly audience of republicans whose votes he wants. >> my name is bill davidson! and i am seeking the nomination for the position of stark county treasurer and i will not apologize for my tone tonight! i have been a republican since i was good and i have been a republican since i was bad. albert einstein issued one of my favorite quotes in the history
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of the spoken word and it is as follows. in the middle of opportunity -- excuse me. in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. i'm going to repeat that so i have clarity tonight. in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity! this is the opportunity we've been waiting for! the stark county treasurer's office is -- we're tired of business as usual! drastic times require what? drastic measures, yes! who said that? thank you. drastic times require drastic measures. >> yeah. mr. davidson did not win his party's nomination. >> i'm shocked, especially after he invoked albert einstein, the best part. >> and misquoted his favorite quote in the spoken word. my favorite is when he -- drastic measures -- yes, who
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said that? >> hey, you're pretty good. >> i'm trying. >> you could be treasurer of stark county. >> we're hoping. up next, we'll update you on breaking news we're following in san francisco. a fire that appears to be doing serious damage.
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take a look. live pictures, intense fire burning in san bruno, california, not far from the san francisco international airport. officials say it is possibly a gas line fire. frankly, they're not exactly sure. clearly there's a source at at center of the screen that you see for those incredibly high flames. about a dozen homes are engulfed by the flames at this point. kelly huston of the california emergency management telling us moments ago there are some reports of injuries and walking wounded. he said a local hospital, kaiser-permanente san francisco telling us they have received three people in ambulances and four walk-ins. six are in icu, three suffering from burns, a witness telling us there was a devastating explosion that led to the fast-moving fire. at first there were reports of possibly a plane down. can you imagine why, because of the scattered nature of the flames. they don't believe that at this
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point is what happened. cal fire says they are sending 25 fire engines to the scene. we have seen them dropping retardant from the air by helicopter and plenty of folks are on the ground as well. clearly, they're bringing in more assets. a lot more ahead at the top of the hour, starting with the florida preacher, who said he was burning korans and then said he wouldn't. now he's back to square one. we'll talk to the florida imam who has been working with him for days and this man didn't even know his name. when you approach things from a different perspective, you don't end up with just another car. you end up with the all-new saab 9-5 luxury sport sedan.
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thanks for joining us tonight. breaking news, the little-known pastor whose plan to burn korans sparked an american fire around the world. he canceled his plans but tonight it's possible he hasn't. the latest in the bizarre back and forth of the last few hours and how this little-known pastor has somehow inserted himself in the controversy over the mosque and islamic center near ground zero. the democratic congressman who says the health plan is for people to, quote, die soon. alan grayson, the most controversial member of his party, is up for re-election. we'll take you in "360 politics under pressure." facing the makings of republican tidal wave. are democrats running away from
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and in some cases running against the obama policies, some that they voted for? paul begala and david frum join us for that. we begin with the breaking news, the koran burning planned for 9/11 that was canceled today after a series of twists and turns, involving everyone from defense secretary gates to donald trump could be back on again. that's the breaking news tonight. only the obscure florida preacher knows for sure. only thing we learned for sure is that he is trying to expand and stretch his 15 minutes of fame as much as he can, by linking himself to the other hot button issue of the day, the proposed islamic center and mosque two blocks from ground zero. he said the koran burning, which he called off hours before, could be back on again, claiming a florida imam had lied to him that the proposed new york mosque was moving. he said, quote, we are rethinking our position. we're little back to square one and we hope this thing works out. let's remember, this is a guy with a flock numbering a few
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dozen people, who sparked international demonstrations, draw a presidential warning, a warning from the head of the military in afghanistan, a call from the defense secretary of the united states today, a visit today from the fbi and more. it is all, frankly, surreal. earlier today, he announced the koran burning was off and this was the reason he gave. >> we have -- or he has been in contact with the imam in new york city. i, with the imam here, i will be flying up there on saturday to meet with the imam at the ground zero mosque. he has agreed to move the location. >> agreed to move the location, he claims, of a mosque he barely ever mentioned in the run-up to his proposed koran burning. why would the new york imam suddenly be negotiating with this extremist pastor? here is where the story falls apart.
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standing next to the pastor was another imam, a florida imam musri, who is president of the islamic society of central florida. here is what he said. >> i have made this morning contact with the office of imam feisal abdul rauf and got a commitment to fly up to new york and meet with him in the company of pastor jones to discuss and come to a decision on relocating the mosque in new york. >> there, he seems to be saying there's no actual deal, just discussion. a short time later the people behind the islamic center near ground zero said just that, there was no deal. then imam feisal rauf issued this statement. i'm glad pastor jones has decided not to burn any korans. however, i have not spoken to pastor jones or imam musri.
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i'm surprised by their announcement. we are not going to toy with our religion or any other. nor are we going to bartter. we are here to extend our hands to build peace and harmony. that was at 6:00 pm. by 6:30, pastor jones was back in front of the cameras. >> i was told exactly that the imam would move the mosque from ground zero. i was told he cannot move it tomorrow. i said that is fine. but it cannot be in ten years. these are exact words that i said. the man said that is fine. i said, now he has agreed to move the mosque away from the ground zero area? yes, he has. that is what i was told. >> who exactly told you that? the name of the person who told you that? >> the imam who was here with me in the press conference. >> imam musri? >> i guess. i don't know his name. >> he doesn't know the name of the florida imam that he spent time with over the past two days. and, apparently, the florida imam has a different account of what was said.
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>> i was a bit surprised that he stretched it to say that -- and when he was pressed on it, he said, no, i didn't speak to the imam in new york. i spoke to imam musri here, and he gave me his word that -- >> that it was a deal? >> that i will work on it, not that -- he knows and i know and the whole world knows that it's not in my hands. that project is not my project. i have no control over it. so -- >> you believe that he knows that there's no deal even though he's saying it? >> yes, i do. >> so, we'll be talking to our political panel about this, paul begala, david gergen and jeffrey toobin, about this sudden surreal saga and why the pastor jones believes he has a role to play here in new york. imam musri joins us from gainesville. thank you so much for joining us. this pastor says you gave him assurances that imam rauf had agreed to move his center.
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you're basically saying he's lying, right? >> he absolutely is wrong. i -- and he knows that three times we went over that i had only a commitment from the office of the imam in new york to schedule a meeting, to go up there and discuss with the condition that he cancel the event here. but he stretched his word up when he stood in front of the camera and said that i gave him guarantee. i have no power to guarantee for him anything in new york. >> so, you were standing next to him, though, when he was, in your words, stretching the truth. why didn't you then say, wait a minute. wait a minute. that's not at all what i said? >> i felt that he was trying to emphasize that point to save face and to give himself a reason to call this off. but in the question and answer session that followed, i made it clear that what he said is not accurate and --
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>> okay. this pastor hates islam. he doesn't believe muslims should be allowed into the united states. he has preached that he doesn't want any new mosques to be built in america anywhere. he admitted in an interview with me that he is basically the definition of a bigot. why should the imam in new york be expected to fo ee eed to neg this guy who, it's important to remember, represents a few dozen people and sells used furniture on ebay to make a living? why should be there a meeting? >> i don't think there should be a meeting. he requested a meeting and i'm willing to schedule it with the imam in new york. >> does it worry you that -- sorry. go ahead. >> i feel that he is not -- >> go ahead. >> go ahead. >> okay. does it worry you that he insisted on having a meeting only on saturday, on 9/11? you told john zarrella he was only available on saturday.
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this is the guy, this pastor has no full-time job, has plenty of time on his hands to appear on television. doesn't it seem to you that he's basically desperate for publicity and wanted to have as big a story as he could by meeting on 9/11? are you concerned about that? >> i am very concerned about that. the point was that we will schedule the meeting as soon as that is possible after we place the call to the office of the imam in new york. and there are no guarantees that the meeting will take place on saturday. i told him i'm willing to travel on saturday. he is willing. but it all depends on the availability of imam rauf in new york. >> pastor jones said he might have to rethink, reconsider his announcement about not burning korans. do you think at this point -- you spent a couple of days with him privately. do you think he will go ahead and burn korans? >> i don't think so. i think he got the message from
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secretary gates, from david petraeus, from many christian leaders who have called on him to call it quits to that event. i think he is trying right now to put pressure on me and twist my arm and the arm of the imam in new york to try to achieve something beyond what we have agreed on. >> right. he's basically trying to save face is what you're saying. what does it say about him, about this pastor that -- if what you're saying is accurate, that he would stretch the truth or lie about something like this, try to insert himself into something that he hasn't been involved with at all and, after spending two days with you, not even know your name. >> exactly, that's the point. after spending two days trying to talk to him, he does not know my name and he does not even know the imam in new york, but he found a new opportunity to stay in the spotlight and,
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unfortunately, he is trying to blackmail me and the imam in new york to do that and stay in the spotlight in the meantime. >> you say he's trying to blackmail you. in what way? >> first, he is accusing me that i lied to him, which i didn't. i was very explicit and clear in what i said to him, that we will schedule a meeting. we have an agreement from the office of imam rauf to have that meeting and i told him if i invited him along, would they accept that? they said sure. now, we have not scheduled the meeting, nor did i promise him that the mosque at or near ground zero would be relocated. that's not in my power to give him. >> imam musri, i appreciate you being with us. it has to be one of the more surreal days of your life. it's certainly one of the more surreal stories we've covered. >> it has been. >> i appreciate you coming on and explaining things from your perspective. thank you very much.
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>> thank you so much, anderson. >> join the live chat at ac360.com. we'll continue the conversation with our panel, david gergen, paul begala and jeffrey toobin. later more breaking news. a potentially big decision from president obama after a federal judge ruled don't ask, don't tell policy is found unconstitutional. our favorite campaign speech ever. call it four score and 100 decibels later. listen to this guy. >> i will not apologize for my tone tonight. i have been a republican since i was good and i have been a republican since i was bad. p-a-d... p.a.d. isn't just poor circulation in your legs causing you pain. it more than doubles your risk of a heart attack or stroke. i was going to tell you. if you have p.a.d., plavix can help protect you from a heart attack or stroke. plavix helps keep blood platelets from sticking together and forming clots, the cause of most heart attacks and strokes. call the doctor about plavix -- please?
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nothing works faster. ♪ tum ta tum tum tums if you're just joining us, breaking news that pastor terry
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jones, having called off plans for burning korans, this weekend, is back to square one. a deal had been reached, he told us earlier, in a nutshell, and i use the term advisedly, they would move the center for the site and he would cancel the koran burning. where did pastor jones get the idea to equate koran burning with mosque building in new york? political contributor paul begala, zuhdi jasser and senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin. we debated, jeff, for a long time today whether or not even to cover this story. of course, it took all these bizarre turns and then it became, well, we do cover this story. this is one of those agonizing things where this guy is clearly an extremist. he represents a few dozen people. he makes money by selling
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furniture on ebay to people who don't know it's supporting his little church. is this just the media making him into something? >> you had to cover the story today. the president is talking about it. secretary gates, general petraeus. it's already a story. the mistake we made, including cnn, i think, is to give him publicity in the first place. >> although cnn -- i mean, i know certainly we didn't really talk about him until general petraeus came out and said this is a risk to u.s. forces, which happened earlier this week. >> that certainly -- >> that's when the coverage -- >> makes the story. >> that's when the coverage blew up. >> to give him attention, we would never consider covering some crazy person in the street out on 58th street yelling about muslims. >> like the westboro baptist church people i wouldn't put on television. >> correct. this guy is no different. he is a bigot, a lunatic and should not have gotten national attention. that, unfortunately, is what led to this crazy spiral that we're
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still on. >> what do you make of all of this? >> well, i think we've all been sucked in, involuntarily, into a freak show. this fellow is not just a lunatic. he's a jerk. he has been playing around with american lives. he is a publicity hound. he does live off the oxygen of media coverage. but as i learn more about it, i can see the dilemma the media organizations like cnn have faced. it is true, general petraeus is acting in the best interest of the country, trying to protect lives, and spoke out about this, it naturally prompted the media to start looking at it. i do think we have now given him too much attention. if he decides to burn korans, yes, you have to have a camera there. but i think we ought to downplay this. >> i don't think anybody should show -- i mean, i certainly would not air images of this guy burning korans. i don't think anybody should. >> well, you know -- if al jazeera does that and we get a lot of protests around the world, i guarantee you we'll get
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sucked in again. i think the faster we can turn this guy's microphones off and turn off the lights, the better. he is living off the publicity and i can't tell you how much -- this is so -- this is damaging to the country now. i don't think -- i think it was unwise for the president to get as deeply involved as he has. i think it did give more legitimacy to this guy. but here we are and i think it's time now to find a way to shut off the microphones. >> and zuhdi jasser, you were opposed to building that mosque and islamic center near ground zero, although obviously they have the right under the constitution. what do you make, though, of this pastor trying to insert himself into that? it seems like the most craven attempt to extend his 15 minutes of, you know, surreal fame. >> yeah, exactly. this guy and his congregation are a spec of hate and fear mongering, and they basically are exploiting the situation.
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the lesson to learn here is that we, as a nation, will never negotiate with terrorists or those that use extreme means of hate to try to manipulate the discourse. and i think, similarly, we've seen -- and i think it's not just the media's fault. this guy put this issue on facebook. it then got translated to different websites and the islamist media. from a teaching standpoint, we're in an information war. we need to start to take the offense and say we're going to advocate for ideas of freedom and liberty and stand behind the constitution even though we may pay a price for it. just when they had videos of our soldiers, god forbid, being beheaded. all of that is an information war we have yet to begin as americans. >> yet, paul, controlling information -- information has become democratized. anybody can put anything on the web. this guy will videotape -- this pastor will probably videotape it, put it on the web and it will be out there. >> that's the thing. i'm trying to move back, who commented when, whether we
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should have covered it. it's been an interesting conversation, but i think the reason general petraeus commented on it, which is why cnn covered it, is because he had to. it's because as dr. jasser says, it was getting out in the bloodstream in other ways. when gergen and i were working in the white house, if cnn didn't cover it, it doesn't happen. now it does. this guy understands that. he gives crazy religious fanatics a bad name but knows how to manipulate the media. i suspect paris hilton even thinks he's a publicity whore. i don't think it's very easy call, actually. the real responsibility morally is with this preacher. he is the man who is inciting hate and should be held accountable for it. >> everyone stick around. we'll continue this discussion and take a quick break. we've got a lot more to cover. stick around. we'll be right back.
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for a 30-tablet free trial offer, everyone knows a fee is a tax. you raised some taxes during that period, particularly the property tax as well as a lot of fee increases. as you know, there's a big difference between fees and taxes. but...they're the same. it's a tax. it's a tax. it's a tax. it's a tax. there's a big difference between fees and taxes. fees and taxes are one in the same. if it comes out of my pocket, it's a tax. now he says it isn't true. we didn't raise taxes. what? still doing the same thing, paying out more money. typical politician. definitely.
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just want to show you some breaking news that's happening in san bruno, south of san francisco. huge fire. apparently a gas line has been broken. a number of homes are at risk, if not already -- what was that? a dozen homes, i'm just getting new information right now. we're trying to get detail, talk to someone on the scene. we'll continue to follow this and we'll break in throughout this next hour as we're getting these pictures. extraordinary images out of california tonight. we'll continue right now, though, talking about the breaking news, a florida preacher calling off plans, then possibly calling them back on to burn korans to mark nine years
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since the 9/11 attacks. somehow possibly only in pastor terry jones' mind, all this morphed into some kind of compromise with the imam who wants to build an islamic center and mosque two blocks from the ground zero site. when the pastor wanted to do this, it got coverage based on -- in stories about islamaphobia around the united states. it got linked to demonstrations murfreesboro, tennessee, an arson against a proposal to expand an islamic center. it was sort of seen in that light before people really started to focus on this one guy. where does this end? if he now goes back on his word, do you think he's just trying to save face as the imam earlier in the program said? >> i don't think he knows what the hell he's doing anderson.
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he just wants to be on the air. he is not a rational human being. he is driven by forces we don't understand. and i think it was perfectly legitimate to cover him in terms of the islamaphobia. i do think he is representative of a fever that we see in the country that needs to be contained, understood, contained and we have to talk our way through it. i would hope as we get copycats, they get less attention. i do think he got to a place where he was getting a lot of interviews and people were sort of putting him on. we went live today with it. i know that was a hard decision. it was a very hard decision for cnn to decide what to do when he went live today to claim this, make this preposterous claim that he reached an agreement with the imam. i'm sure people are wondering, did we overplay this? these are hard, hard questions for all of us. some guy is standing on a street
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corner holding a stick of dynamite with a fuse lit. you sort of feel you have to go look at that. he is manipulating us. >> let's move on from him. zuhdi jasser, the imam from the proposed islam center in new york has said this has become a national security issue whether or not this islamic center proceeds, whether it proceeds forward, whether or not it's in that space or not. do you buy that, that this is now a national security issue? >> well, i mean, i think it's over simplistic and irresponsible for the imam to focus on that element. it may be true on the battlefield for petraeus. for us, as muslims, if you truly are a reformer, you will not negotiate with terrorists. if we're truly going to stand for freedom and liberty, the reason my family left syria and the reason i served in the navy for 11 years was we learned as americans, we don't let terrorists tell us what to do. we won't be threatened into submission and we'll stand by
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our principles no matter what. if he believes his mosque is real -- that was one of my problems with a lot of his statements yesterday. i constantly get the sense that the only lens he sees things through is a narcissistic spiritual lens of islam and not through one as americans, that we have our faith within us, we're under god but ground zero is not about islam or teaching americans lessons. 71% of america is not isla islamaphobes. we've built over 2,000 mosques in this country without a problem. yes, there was some controversy in some of the ones we built, but america is not islamaphobic. >> i think there's a mistake that we've been making in talking about the mosque, in focusing on how people will react in al qaeda, in taliban, who will use it for propaganda purposes. we do not know and we should not care. these are evil, crazy people. >> they will use just about anything that happens for propaganda. >> exactly. they will use anything in any direction.
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>> his point is that it's not just the extremists but it will make those who are not extremists at this point overseas or those on the fence in afghanistan, it will push them toward extremism. >> maybe. how can we predict how reactions will play overseas in these lands and among people we barely understand and know about? we have to be consistent with our values. we have to respect our law. and, frankly, let the chips fall where they may. this idea of predicting responses is a fool's game. >> paul? >> it's like imam rauf was on very strong, all-american grounds if he would have stayed in his lane, which is as a spiritual leader, a community leader and if he simply had stayed there. he is not an expert on national security. he doesn't know what the hell he is talking about on that. he certainly has a powerful argument in the greatest american tradition of religious freedom, religious liberty, religious tolerance. communities have come here from all around the world and built
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their houses of worship. there was a time in american history when catholic churches were being burned, a convent was burned in massachusetts, church was burned in philadelphia. my church, we overcame that prejudice and i think muslims will here as well. that would have been a far better argument. also ahead, president obama, the latest pictures we have from a fire in southern california. also ahead, president obama, is he a political liability for democrats in the mid-term election? we'll look at raw politics and talk to david frum and paul begala about that. speaking of raw politics, look at this. >> we're tired of business as usual. drastic times require what? drastic measures, yes! who said that? >> dispatch from planet politics, probably one of the strangest stump speeches you've ever heard, just ahead.
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you're looking at live pictures of a very intense fire burning in san bruno, south of san francisco. we have someone on the phone with the very latest information, kelly huston with cal emergency management. what do we know about this fire? how big is it? when did it start? >> just before 7:00 it started.
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we don't know exactly what sparked the fire. there was first reports of maybe an aircraft down but the faa and san francisco international airport says they don't have any reports of missing aircraft or any downed aircraft. as you can see, the fames are being fueled by something. there was a loud explosion being reported by witnesses and just dozens of homes on fire. several cars on fire in the area. there's speculation it may be a high pressure gas line. crews are trying to assess how many injuries they have there and what they're going to do to contain the flames. >> it looks like there is a source of those flames, as you mention, in one area. we're also seeing simmering flames elsewhere. it almost looks like a forest fire. are those smaller fires -- have the flames been picked up by the wind from that main area? >> yeah. one of their biggest challenges right now is the flame -- or is the wind that's fueling the fire and also spreading the fire as well. the firefighters are worried about the potential spread of this by the source, which could be this gas line or whatever it is that's fueling that fire.
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in addition, the amount of embers falling on to adjacent homes, catching those homes on fire. it's still very much an unfolding incident as we speak. we've got aircraft and helicopters from cal fire in the area, literally dropping retardant on homes to stop them from catching fire and an assessment, how many people may be injured, where those people are and doing an accounting of those folks. >> i assume you have folks on the ground. are they battling the blaze on the ground as well? we saw a helicopter pass through. these flames are huge. do you have people on the ground able to fight it? >> the local fire departments are there, trying to figure out what is the best strategy to fight this. of course, we do have folks in the aircraft, dropping retardant and water. there's a full-on effort there, hundreds of fires and people there just trying to get control of this. like i said, it's still an unfolding incident. we just don't know exactly what sparked this.
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but we're trying to stop it. >> how residential an area is this? it's hard to tell -- >> it's a pretty residential area. it's along highway 280, if you're familiar with where that's at, along skyline boulevard, south of san francisco, about two miles east of san francisco -- i'm sorry, two miles west of san francisco international airport. so, it's, as you can see by the picture, a pretty populated area and lots of homes in that area. >> any reports right now of injuries or anything? >> we've heard some reports from folks that there are injuries there, there are people being treated but there's no way at this point to be able to give you a count. it's still unfolding. >> right. best of luck to you and to all those fighting the fire. we wish you the best. thank you for being with us, kelly. >> thank you. >> isha sesay joins us with the "360 news bulletin." it's believed three people have been shot.
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police with conducting an investigation at the scene. iran said it will release one of three american hikers it's holding. sarah may be freed on saturday at the end of the holy month of ramadan. shore and two companions were arrested more than a year ago after allegedly straying into iran territory while hiking in iraq. iran has accused them of being spies. 83 miners trapped in chile. in it, they explain how supplies are distributed on a, quote, as-needed basis. the miners have been trapped for more than a month now, anderson, and they may be there until december. it's a terrible situation. but we continue to follow that one. >> yeah, unbelievable. they're now able to get them a lot of supplies and stuff through various tubes, which is hard to believe. >> i know, but, you know -- it's hard to believe, they just want alcohol and cigarettes. >> really, is that what they said? >> paerm they sent back a crate of peaches and said, no, we want alcohol and cigarettes. we need to get this thing going. anyway they said, no, they're getting meatballs and pasta. >> oh, well. they can dream.
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>> they can. >> i'll talk to you later. politics under pressure. florida congressman alan grayson's rough and tumble fight to keep his seat. he is not the only democrat in the fight of his political life, of course. breaking news tonight, a court ruling that could put president obama on the spot, a judge ruling don't ask, don't tell unconstitutional. you could switch for up to 600 highway miles on a single tank of gas. or the hundred-thousand mile powertrain warranty. over a thousand people a day are switching to chevy. they're not just trading in, they're trading up. qualified lessees can get low mileage lease on this 2011 malibu ls for around one ninety-nine a month. call for details. the switch to chevy starts at chevydealer.com. i but i justve my 5 employcan't afford it.ance, i have diabetes. i didn't miss a premium payment for 10 years. and i'm worried if i lose my job, i won't be able to afford insurance. when i graduated from college, i lost my health insurance. the minute i got sick, i lost my insurance.
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as the mid-term elections draw closer, we're periodically giving you inside access to the inner workings of key campaigns. trying to take you behind the
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scenes. tonight alan grayson, first-term democrat in florida. although he is only a freshman, he has repeatedly and harshly criticized republicans. listen. >> if you get sick, america, the republican health care plan is this. die quickly. i'm the only member of congress who actually worked as an economist and the lobbyist is trying to teach me about economics. an acronym that's used to apply to situations like this, stfu. i don't think i can say that on air but you can figure out what that means. when he talks blood is dripping. i understand what the president is doing. people attack him and he turns the other cheek like any good muslim would do. >> here is an up-close look at congressman grayson's campaign
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with randi kaye. >> reporter: this is the war room at alan grayson's headquarters, grayson is a democrat, brash and combative former lawyer for whistle blowers and now a congressman running for his second term in orlando, florida. his staff just got word a new attack ad against him was coming. >> cut $500 billion from medicare. >> they're spewing false claims about cutting medicare. >> reporter: his campaign manager quickly shifts into damage control. what are you hearing about this particular ad that could be coming? >> this particular ad is trying to distort the congressman's record on senior issues when, in fact, he has been one of the biggest proponents and biggest deliverers for seniors in the district. >> reporter: the group behind the attack describes itself as the conservative alternative to the aarp. >> nasty name calling. >> a lot of retirees live in orlando and they tend to vote. but grayson tells me they won't be fooled by, quote, special interest groups trying to buy an election for his republican opponent. how do you tackle that?
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>> 400,000 knocks on the door, 600,000 live phone calls and we've seen over and over again that that matters a lot more than whatever people are seeing on tv because frankly they're on to it. >> reporter: maybe, but if campaign is war, they are massing to defeat grayson and for dan webster, his opponent, they are reinforcements in the knick of time. dan webster has little cash left but those conservative groups have millions to spend and would love to bring grayson down. after all, he said the republicans plan for health care was, quote, if you get sick, die quickly. he has also said that putting republicans in government was like making al qaeda members pilots. as for dick cheney, grayson called him a vampire. in other words, in politics, grayson is a take no prisoners warrior. >> i think it's -- zbrr but at an amusement park on a night out with his wife and five children, grayson is a different man.
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>> the thrill of a 5-year-old going on his first roller coaster ride, you know, it's indescribable. this is actually the happiest place on earth. you know, fun is never more than five minutes away. >> reporter: grayson believes he is the only member of congress to have five children in school. >> my daughter, skye, is 15. my daughter, star, is 11. my son, sage, is 9 and my twins, my beautiful, adorable twins, stone and storm, are 5. >> reporter: on another note, some have compared you to sarah palin because of the unusual children's names. how do you feel about being compared to sarah palin? >> i hope she runs for president. i hope she chooses me as her vice president and i hope that she quits her third day in office so that i'll have my shot. she does that, you know. she quits. >> reporter: grayson never quits. he learned that, growing up far from orlando in the bronx, new york. when he was 11, he says, a bully pushed him under a moving bus.
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but he managed to pull himself to safety. that was the beginning. that's when he began fighting. the son of two school teachers, grayson attended the prestigious bronx high school of science, then harvard and harvard law. he worked as a janitor to help pay tuition. as a lawyer, he exposed waste among military contractors in iraq, but eventually figured out he might have a greater impact in congress than in the courtroom. so back at campaign headquarters, a new attack ad targeting him means another fight. they are planning how to defeat the conservative group behind it. >> ad limitations, we have to figure out what they are. if they're coming anywhere near the line, then we're going to stop them. >> reporter: grayson is ahead in the polls. he has raised plenty of money for this, but he has learned to expect attacks could come from anywhere. and he says he's not wired to lose. randi kaye, cnn, orlando.
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>> president obama will stump for democratic candidates in key swing states this fall. one of those important states, ohio, where president obama talked about the economy yesterday. wisconsin, pennsylvania and nevada. it's no secret that a lot of democratic candidates are keeping their distance from him. he won't visit states, white house acknowledges, where his presence could hurt democrats. paul begala, conservative david frum, editor of frumforum.com. david, is the president a liability? >> sure, the president is a visible symbol of the status quo in the country. the status quo is dreadful. people are really hurting. and the president's own constituents are the people who are hurting the most. young people, minorities. they are the people who are recording these horrifying unemployment numbers. and they can rightly say this didn't deliver for me, so why should a deliver for you? >> paul, what happened to --
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remember there was all that talk at the inauguration about the obama army, all those people they have on their database who will be this ready reserve, people who will be energized for mid terms and specific issues? what happened? >> a lot of them are depressed. my personal theory is on 2008, election day, starbucks gave free coffee if you vote. my guess is starbucks demographics, pretty liberal. pretty good for the democrats. caffeine is a stimulant. since then, a lot of states have decriminalized marijuana. pot bad, coffee good. they're sitting at home, smoking it up. a 50% drop in the three statewide elections we've had post-obama in massachusetts, virginia and new jersey. 50% decline in young people's vote. while many of them are disenchanted perhaps with president obama, i have to tell you, a lot of us older democrats are getting a little frustrated with the youngsters. this is a long-term business. this is a marathon race. yeah, they got their hopey
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changey guy in 2008. if they want to actually enact all that change, they have to stay in the game. >> david, from a republican perspective, do you think the gop would like to see more alan grayson? >> alan grayson is a big part of the problem, generally, with the country. he is really a talk radio figure more than a political figure. he is not somebody who is in congress to make legislation. obviously he can't work with anybody on the other side of the aisle, the way he talks. his strategy, it will work for him, is to become famous by being polarizing, to stand out, to become a symbol of the left for the left against the right. you can raise a lot of money that way. you can't accomplish anything. and that is part of the same disease that's consuming us all. >> paul, do you think grayson is part of the problem or do you want to see more folks with his kind of energy in the democratic party? >> you always have a mix in the congress. go back to the continental congress. there were bomb throwers in that one, too. it's all part of the great magic of democracy. people of central florida are smart. if they think he's delivering
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for them, if they like the voice he gives them, i think that will be fine. i'm a little less alarmed. someone said that to president clinton, how long will these politicians continue to make extreme positions? he said as long as you keep rewarding it. we keep re-electing these folks. i'm not alarmed by that. there's plenty of room for all kinds of voices. at least this guy is funny, entertaining and believes in something. >> david frum, paul begala, we've got to leave it there. sorry about all the breaking news tonight. federal district court judge in southern california ruling that the military's don't ask, don't tell policy is unconstitutional under the first and fifth amendments. now would be a great time to have senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin around and, coincidentalliy, we do. >> how about that? >> first of all, is this the right judge to be making the ruling? >> she. >> she, sorry. >> virginia phillips. since president clinton put it in, there have been -- >> this is like republican. >> log cabin republicans. this is the first one to have succeeded.
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certainly the justice department, part of the obama administration, will appeal saying it is constitutional. and that's part of the paradox of this ruling. you have the defense department under the joint chiefs of staff, under secretary gates saying they want to get rid of it at the same time the justice department is defending the law. >> so, basically they'll appeal it, but nothing happens until the appeal goes through? >> well, we'll see. she has to decide whether she will issue a stay. that is not clear at this point. >> if she doesn't you shall a stay -- >> ninth circuit court of appeals will be asked to issue a stay. frankly, given the deference that the courts almost always give to the military, i would be very surprised not to see a stay entered into this court. this certainly will raise the pressure for congress to deal with don't ask, don't tell. the obama administration has said it wants to get rid of it. the pentagon is studying it. but basically moving in that direction.
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it hasn't happened yet. republicans in the senate have blocked it. i don't know exactly how this is going to affect the politics, but it's going to move through the appeals process and the supreme court may get this case as well. >> a lot of breaking news tonight, jeff. appreciate it. you might want to stick around for this. our newest -- probably my favorite stump speech i've ever seen in one of our new segments. dispatches from planet politics. >> very long graphic. dispatches from planet politics. i want to introduce you to phil davidson. he wanted to be the republican nominee for treasurer for stark county, ohio. i mean, he really, really wants to be treasurer. keep in mind as you watch this, he is speaking at a community center in front of a friendly audience of republicans whose votes he wants. listen. >> my name is bill davidson! and i am seeking our party's nomination for the position of
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stark county treasurer and i will not apologize for my tone tonight! i have been a republican since i was good and i have been a republican since that was bad. albert einstein issued one of my favorite quotes in the history of the spoken word and it is as follows. in the middle of opportunity -- excuse me. in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. i'm going to repeat that so i have clarity tonight. in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity! this is the opportunity we've been waiting for! the stark county treasurer's office is -- we're tired of business as usual! drastic times require what? drastic measures, yes! who said that? thank you. drastic times require drastic measures. >> yeah. mr. davidson did not win his party's nomination.
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>> i'm shocked, especially after he invoked albert einstein, the best part. >> and misquoted his favorite quote in the spoken word. my favorite is when he -- drastic measures requires -- yes, who said that? >> hey, you're pretty good. >> i'm trying. >> you could be treasurer of stark county. >> we're hoping. up next, we'll update you on breaking news we're following in san francisco. remarkable pictures. a fire that appears to be doing serious damage. [ engine revving ] [ drums playing ] [ male announcer ] 306 horsepower. race-inspired paddle shifters. and f-sport-tuned suspension. all available on the new 2011 lexus is. it isn't real performance unless it's wielded with precision.
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take a look. live pictures, intense fire burning in san bruno, california, not far from the san francisco international airport. officials say it is possibly a gas line fire. frankly, they're not exactly sure. clearly there's a source at the center of the screen that you see for those incredibly high flames. about a dozen homes are engulfed by the flames at this point. kelly huston of the california emergency management telling us moments ago there are some reports of injuries and walking wounded. he said a local hospital, kaiser-permanente south of san francisco telling us they have received three people in ambulances and four walk-ins. six are in icu, three suffering from burns.

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